Tuesday, 8 Nov 2022  |  Reading time:  9 mins  | Read online

The cost of living crisis

This week, we’re looking at the ongoing cost of living crisis and how local authorities across the globe are supporting their communities through it.

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How can councils fight the crisis?

No one can escape the cost of living crisis. However, low-income households and vulnerable communities are facing the worst of the uncertainty and desperation. 

Rising inflation, energy prices, housing and shipping costs are compounding for a severe effect on constituents, and as winter descends, decisions get tougher. How can local governments support people through times like these? 

Many councils are already on the frontline. They support food banks, local businesses and public spaces — whatever struggling residents may need. Local knowledge is essential to this goal. But so are the policies and initiatives spearheaded by other regional authorities around the world. In addition, councils doing their best to support their communities are often financially vulnerable themselves. As always, though, there is strength in numbers. Learning from successful responses to the cost of living crisis will make your own strategies much more assured. 

In our latest Global Local preview, we’re focusing on how councils and communities are fighting a huge, ongoing issue. 

In Brief: featured content

Stepping forward: How councils are responding to the cost of living crisis

By Neil Merrick, LGIU Associate

Countless councils are devising or backing schemes that help people stay warm, save energy and feed themselves and their families. These measures include food aid networks, energy advice schemes and turning libraries and other public spaces into well-being hubs. There’s also a desire to support local businesses. 

In Glasgow, for example, low-income households receive gift cards. Other schemes run in conjunction with charities that provide advice on a healthier lifestyle or energy efficiency. CV-writing and job-search support are also available. Yet more efforts are needed in the coming months as energy and other costs soar. Our main briefing demonstrates the range of help on offer throughout England, Wales and Scotland. 

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LGIU Global Local Highlights

The cost of living bundle

Many factors are stopping people’s paychecks from stretching further. Food, warmth and shelter are at risk. This LGIU bundle showcases 17 briefings on fuel poverty and the cost of living published in the last year alone. They examine the underlying components of the crisis and local governments’ critical role.
Check out the bundle and subscribe to Global Local to get more access

Cost of living support in South Tyneside 

Councils are often making heroic efforts to support their communities in this difficult time. Here, councillor Ruth Berkley from South Tyneside outlines their partner-led approach.
Read the blog on our website.

Innovation & Inspiration

Curated case studies and news from around the globe


USA: “Resilience hubs” address short and long-term cost of living issues 

Resilience centres offer a unique respite from severe weather and soaring energy bills. They’re often launched to help people deal with extreme temperatures but can become much more essential to any community, addressing inequities with measures such as after-school programs and job training. Additionally, they’re designed to be more practical and productive than cooling centres when dealing with extreme heat, or under “flex alerts” in states like California where residents are asked to cut their appliance use to avoid blackouts. Some of the first of these hubs were developed in Baltimore, Maryland and are still going strong, rolling out to other cities and states in a community partnership model. This places people who best understand what the community needs at the core of delivery.  

NextCity | The Guardian

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Global Local Executive Panel: COP-26

One year on from COP-26, LGIU and VLGA bring you a panel of council chief executives from across the globe to discuss what’s happened in the last twelve months and the ongoing implications for local government of the COP-26 discussions and resolutions.

Free for LGiU or VLGA members (non-members $49.50/£29.70)

Date: Thursday 10 November

Time: 07:30 UK/Ireland, 18:30 AEDT

Book now

Policy & Resources

Report: Is climate action the solution to the cost of living crisis? A new report from Australia’s Climate Council examines how investment in climate change initiatives could solve cost-of-living pressures. It highlights how the cost-benefit equation of net-zero building standards and fuel efficiency mandates will become more viable in Australia, as energy bills and the price of extreme weather insurance rise each year. 

Toolkit: Supporting Fuel-Poor and Vulnerable Households 
Produced by Citizens Advice, this toolkit is designed to help local authorities tackle fuel poverty. It provides information on the impacts of living in cold conditions, policy drivers to address cold homes and referral pathways that make a difference to your most vulnerable residents’ lives. 

Join the Global Local community to get more tips for practical delivery. 

This week's Global Local bulletin, next week's In Brief

Our paid subscriber edition this week examines the needs profile of veterans and their families and explores what local government can do to facilitate their reintegration into the community, both in the short and long term.

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